Monday, October 14, 2019

Life of a Poet ~ Ron. Lavalette


Today we are zooming cross-country to Vermont, to chat with Ron. Lavalette, who blogs at  Scrambled, Not Fried, and Eggs Over Tokyo. I detect a theme here. It almost begs for another blog titled Eggs Over Easy. Smiles. Let's dive in!








Sherry: One thing that is obvious, looking around your blog, is that you have a wicked sense of humour. I love it! How did you come up with the names of your blogs?

Ron.: “Sense of humor,” eh? Harumph. (Just kidding). Eggs Over Tokyo was the name of a rock band I hung out with waaaay back in High School in the late ‘60s.  I say “hung out” because they only occasionally invited me up on stage, and then only to sing back-up.

Much, much later (2010) I decided to participate in my 1st National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo), so I inaugurated Scrambled, Not Fried for that purpose. The title maintains the Egg theme, and also describes the author.    



Sherry: LOL. Awesome!  You write both poetry and prose. Which is your first love? What do you love about poetry, and what made you choose it as your means of creative expression?

Ron.: Yikes! I think my first love was words. Spelling. Etymology. Sentences. Structure. Sound. I remember an early teacher pointing out to me how structure matters by showing me the sentences: 1) Only I hit Bobby in the nose. 2) I only hit Bobby in the nose. 3) I hit only Bobby…  I hit Bobby only… I hit Bobby in only…etc.

Once you’re in love with words, it doesn’t really matter if they’re prose or poetry, does it? As long as it’s well done. And it means something. And it sounds good.

Sherry: I agree. When did you begin writing, Ron? Is there a story about it? Looking back, is there someone you feel had a significant influence in your becoming a writer?

Ron.: I’m sure there is earlier evidence, but I guess I consider that I started considering myself to be a “writer” when I started serious journal-keeping early in the 90’s (ie the 1990s, not my 90s; I’m not quite there yet). I think that, like many journal-keepers, mine started out more in a “diary” style, but very quickly moved toward more creative entries. Mostly prose, of course, but I’ve found that lots of my prose springboards me into verse, so…

As to who encouraged me to pursue writing, I have to say I guess I’m kind of a self-starter, but only because until I got serious about it, I’d never really been in contact with very many other literary-minded folks.

Sherry: Tell us a bit about yourself, won’t you? 



The Northeast Kingdom


Ron.: I currently reside in Heaven, also referred to as The Northeast Kingdom section of Vermont, about 30 miles south of the Canadian border (just in case I have to make a hasty exit.)  I’ve been here for just under 3 decades, lured here by My Beloved Sandra, who seemed intent on rescuing me from myself and from the dead-endish jobs and relationships I was holding down back in my home state of Connecticut.  


Sandra and Ron

I’ve been retired for 3 years, after working for almost a dozen years as a High School (Special) Educator, a part-time (newspaper) stringer reporter, and a decade as a Service Coordinator in Vermont’s Mental Health Services. I tapered off by providing 3 years as a para-educator at a local elementary school, and then (BLAMMO!) retired.

Do I have pets? No.  I had a dog once.  It was delicious!

Sherry: A hot dog, hopefully. LOL. Would you like to share two or three poems with us?

Ron.: If you check out my blog(s), you’ll see that I like to write about a wide variety of subjects, but even I can see that I keep coming back to recording my life-stage and how it’s affecting me. I find it easiest to do this by including observations about my immediate environment.  So I thought maybe I’d share 2 such poems:

Crossing” was originally published in 2000, in the now-defunct New Works Review:



Crossing

The river sings of its rocks, mirrors
emerald and jade where summer
shadows attempt to outrun
sundown. I intrude, I presume,

I stand near the middle. The second cut
of hay is on the banks, neatly ordered
in rows this time of year, golden,
measuring the march-step toward August.

I think about changes: the movement
of sand through narrow places, how
a ripple diminishes downstream,
how a sound sounds when it stops.



“Fallen Away” is the title piece for my chapbook (Oh! Did I mention my Chapbook, available at Finishing Line Press, Amazon, etc?).  It uses the same autobiographical scenery-gazing approach as “Crossing”, but 20 years later:


Fallen Away

I don’t know when it happened;
I let it all fall away. I let it fall

on the long drive to work in the morning
in the sunlight, let it fall crossing

ridge after jaded ridge, fall
with the glimpse of an unlikely hawk

or a capture of crows, or the stacking
of cordwood, the season’s final frost,

fog on the hillside, or the flutter
of a yellow kite in a midsummer wind.

Like the stones of the dead, untended
in the long grass in the middle of June,

in the middle of nowhere I let it fall,
left it all behind and disappeared,

slipped into seamless dreams, drifted
through blue nights and black mornings.

I watched the water boil for coffee,
sat by the river and watched the water

run away toward heaven, heard angels
whisper in the leaves, left the secret

undiscovered, saw the uncertain moon
swim, reflected in dark, starlit pools.

Gone, now, the last of all the wasted words;
the effort, senseless, of upward struggle.




Available here and here


Sherry: Oh, wow! So beautiful. I especially love "Fallen Away". Such a sense of letting go of all the upward struggle and claiming peace, watching the river. I love it. 

When did you start blogging? How has it impacted your work?


Ron.: I addressed this above, but let me just add this: I have a third (apparently almost secret) blog entitled “One Post Only”.  It’s linked in the sidebars of both Eggs Over Tokyo and Scrambled Not FriedYou should check it out. It’ll blow your mind!!

Sherry: I checked it out. And it did! Smiles. Do you have a favourite poet?

Ron.: Oh, please. Favorite? No can do. I’ll say this. Like many (most?) young folks, I had little interest in poetry… until one day in High School a student teacher arrived on his 1st day of teaching practice and accidently dropped several books out of his backpack onto my desk. I found myself holding a copy of Ginsberg’s HOWL in one hand and Ferlinghetti’s A Coney Island Of The Mind in the other. I thumbed through them briefly and knew, from that moment on, that I had to write poetry.

I’m an omnivore. I know what I don’t like when I read it, but I can’t imagine naming a favorite.
  
Sherry: You could not have stumbled upon better introductions to the world of poetry. 

What activities might we find you enjoying when you aren’t writing?

Ron.: Wait; whaaaat? Not writing?

Sherry: LOL. Is there anything you’d like to say to Poets United?

Ron.: I’m pretty sure that I used to hang out here at Poets United some time ago, but clearly drifted away at some point.  Don’t know when; can’t say why, but I’m glad I found my way back.  I’ve seen lots of the other poets at lots of other sites, but I’m definitely bookmarking Poets United again & I hope I can be a worthy member.

Sherry: We are glad you found your way back, Ron. 

Ron.: I especially want to thank you, Sherry, for inviting me to be interviewed. It’s not an activity I’m used to, nor particularly comfortable with. I am simultaneously humbled and deeply honored Thanks again!

Sherry: It has been a pleasure, Ron. Thanks for saying yes! 

We hope you enjoyed this visit, friends. These features are such a good way to get to know the poet behind the pen. I think we can agree this was a delightful glimpse. Do come back and see who we talk to next. Who knows? It might be you!

23 comments:

  1. I too am a lover of words and language, how when words are put together in a certain way we find meaning and how that meaning can be changed based simply on their arrangement. I was drawn particularly to the first poem you shared. I kept thinking of the line "No man steps in the same river twice" and there you are standing in the middle. And that last line "how sound sounds when it stops" even an absence of sound seems to leave a ringing in the ears. I've really enjoyed reading your blog posts. (Including the one post only).

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    1. Thanks, Lori! Sandra and I were just discussing the concept of reverberation last night. I'm sure that many (most?) of us have heard sounds or conversations that are as clear today as they were when we first experienced them. Altered, perhaps, but never disappearing, even long after they've "stopped".
      Glad you enjoyed the interview!

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  2. Thanks for the Honor, Sherry! I both blogbragged and Facebook linked! You (& all the other United Poets) ROCK!!

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    1. LOL. Thanks, Ron. I am only too happy to serve. I think my most favourite thing, at Poets United, has been doing these Monday features. I have always been fascinated by peoples' stories, since I was a fourteen year old cub reporter on the Kelowna Daily News.............each life, so amazing. Thanks for saying yes. So happy to know the person behind the pen a litle better.

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  3. Oh, I really enjoyed this interview, Ron & Sherry. Yes, Ron, I have seen you around a long time in the blogosphere one place or another, and I am glad that you now have found your way back to Poets United. I enjoyed reading the history of how you began to write, and I enjoyed the poems that you shared. I can definitely see your sense of humor in your interview answers, Ron, and your love of words in your poetry!

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  4. Thanks, Mary! I'm glad I found my way back as well. We all owe so much of the great stuff here at PU to you and to Sherry! You and she ARE Poets United, in my humble opinion. Thanks again.

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  5. Ah, that touches my heart, kiddo. We have done our very best, and it has been so meaningful and fulfilling. Thank you for your kind words.

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  6. Another wonderful interview, I for one am going to miss Sherry's segments. (sigh)

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  7. Nice interview, Guys. I remember you, Ron from blogging, mostly "Six Word Saturday" posts. Yours were mostly very potent and generally posted and signed in early on Saturday mornings. I dropped that, too time consuming for me but then met you again I think on One Single Impressions with the poets and me.
    Keep writing!!! I'm with you and several here, retired, been retired eighteen years.
    ..

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  8. So glad I remembered - on this Canadian Thanksgiving weekend - to check out your Monday feature, Sherry. What a wonderful share. And I agree, Sherry 'Fallen Away' is a stunning piece of poetry. An autobiographical scenery-gazing approach is, very much, my 'go-to' poetry place when I write, and I found Ron.'s voice - in both poems showcased here, really - very compelling. An awesome job on this. Thanks so much Poets.

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  9. I think my favorite part of this interview is the mind blowing "One Poem Only." But the surprises in all your pieces are a delight. Sounds and letting go. Congratulations on your FLP chapbook. I'm so glad you will be around!

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  10. Oh, what beautiful poems! And it's so nice to get to know a bit more about Ron. Many thanks for yet another of your wonderful interviews, Sherry.

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  11. Beautiful poems. Look forward to read more of your poetry on PU, Ron. Thanks Sherry... yes your features will be missed a lot.

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  12. I was looking forward to this, and Ron didn't disappoint. Excellent poetic selections! Also, great questions, Sherry! :)

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  13. I have been crazy traveling. I'm back at last. And what a lovely, entertaining interview! Fallen Away is absolutely mind blowing, Ron. Good you found your way back to PU. Yay!! Thank you Sherry & Ron for this lively chat.

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  14. Ron, a pleasure to know you and your poetry.
    the two poems, they are truly stunning.

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  15. Thanks! I'm enjoying my return to PU, and all the fine poets I'm finding here (including yourself, of course).

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  16. Ah, Ron does live in a slice of heaven! I enjoyed this interview and getting to know Ron a bit better.

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  17. Great interview and I so love that crossing poem Thanks for that

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  18. Ron, I recall seeing you on the trail during Napowrimo a few years back, and yours is one of the blogs that continually stands out for quality, brevity, and humor. I'd say taste, but let's not go too far.

    Cheers

    M ~

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